Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Brunch Rant Week 7

Although this is nothing new in the sports world, the issue of stadiums and ticket prices have caught my attention. In particular, the New York area happens to be the prime example for the latest wave of constructing brand new stadiums. The New York Giants (NFL), NY Yankees (MLB), and NY Mets (MLB) have all either began constructing or already erected the new sites where they hope to call home. The only problem is that the "Welcome Home" mats have been swept from under of some of their most loyal fans - leaving them in shock and creating a controversy.

PSLs. Personal Seat Licenses. I'm sure you've heard of them by now, especially if you are a Dallas Cowboys fan. A simple way to define it is: pay to have the right to buy season tickets in a specific seat. You can't just pay for a seat. No. You pay for the chance to pay for a seat. Unfair? That's not what the owners say.

Dallas Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, is placing a PSL price tag on exclusive seats ranging from $50,000 all the way to $150,000. Let's think about that for a second. $50,000 is the equivalent to buying a brand new car with all the bells and whistles. $150,000 is the equivalent to about five times an average American's salary (approx. $30,000). 

Jerry, Jerry, Jerry. Let's sit down and talk about this for just a moment and get this straight. You want people to pay that much money just so they can have a chance to buy a seat? You mean that paying that amount does NOT include the actual season tickets? Well that doesn't sound irrational at all now, does it? By the way, the US is still in an economic recession if you haven't checked.

And hold up, don't think that this only applies to luxury suite occupants and lower bowl season ticket holders. This is stadium-wide. Even upper deck seats have PSLs that start at $1,000 and go up to $5,000 - that coming from the New York Giants PSL calculator for their up-and-coming Meadowlands Stadium.  

Besides the whole PSL issue, ticket prices have sky-rocketed. The NY Yankees' highest ticket price for a single game stands at a whopping $2,625. Not to single out the Yanks, the Mets have just about doubled their ticket prices, even after increases of 14% and 25% in the previous two seasons. 

All of this comes under the justification that the teams "must stay competitive" in the league. Well the old Yankee stadium might have been outdated (to an extent), but it was still functional and the team still held the highest payroll in the MLB for quite a while now. You stay competitive by enhancing the product on the field, not the other way around. 

The funniest case of "staying competitive" came from the NY Giants. One the eve of winning the Super Bowl, the Giants still want a new stadium. To coin the phrase from a third-generation Giants fan, "I don't know how much more competitive you can get than that."

I think it's time for owners to take a look at the situation and realize that we are not in an economic boom right now, and even if we were, those prices may still be considered a rip-off. 

The Yankees did not need to spend $1.5 billion on their new stadium. 

The Cowboys did not need to spend $1.3 billion on their new stadium. 

The Mets did not need to spend $900 million on their new stadium.

Remember that spending billions on your house will not guarantee that it will become your home.

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